Yesterday morning I was looking over my Facebook page when I saw a message from my Nephew, a 20 year old college student at Southern New Hampshire University. The message had a link from a recent ABC News article. It read:
My immediate reaction was: “Is this really coming as a surprise to anyone that sugary drinks are killing us? We’re one of the most obese countries on the planet, for crying out loud!”
I knew immediately I wanted to write a blog article about this topic. It got me fired up about a subject that I’m very passionate about…
How fat & unhealthy of a nation we’ve become in the last 30 years.
As easy as it would be to write this article about the health pitfalls of drinking sugary drinks, I don’t want to do that.
I think if we’re truly going to be honest with ourselves we need to take a very close look at the entire picture when it comes to this embarrassingly tragic story. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the entire problem on the beverage industry. Besides, they or no one else is forcing us to drink this stuff in the first place.
Sugary drinks are only the tiny tip of a very fat iceberg, in my opinion.
I’m 42 years old. I can tell you that over the last 35+ years I have personally had a front row seat to witness the lifestyle & health transformation of the Average American, first hand.
In my opinion, it is a transformation that is literally killing us…especially our kids.
But once again, that is only part of this waste-line “inflation” story that gnaws at my thoughts as I write this article. It’s something else.
*For more on these statistics, check out the Harvard School of Public Health Fact Sheet on Sugary Drinks and Obesity.
No…it’s something else, entirely different, that’s rattling all about my highly congested gray matter. It has a lot to do with the WAY we live today being so radically different than it was a few decades ago.
“What was it like in The Old Days?”
To help explain this change of lifestyle I’m referring to, I think it will be easier if we fire up the old “flux capacitor” and take a quick trip back in time, 35 years ago.
When I was a kid growing up back in the stone ages (you know, when your TV just had a “knob” and it only got 3 channels, maybe 4 on a good day!) us kids did a pretty strange thing. Any guesses what that strange thing might have been?
Oh, you mean you played video games, those of you in the 30 & under group might be asking.
Nope. Video games (aka ATARI & the infamous Pac-Man) came onto the scene later on in the next decade – the eighties. More on that in a future article!
No, this was the seventies. Things were a weeeee-bit different then – in more ways than one. There were:
- No Ataris, PS3s, MACs, PCs or Smartphones
- No Facebook or Twitter (if you read my opening sentence, I just shot myself in the foot pretty good there)
- No Kardashians or Jersey Shore (Oh, how lucky we were)
My god….how did you survive without all that connectivity, you poor thing, you may ask?
I’m glad you asked! I’m happy to tell you exactly what we did to keep ourselves from ending up in the hospital with a horrible case of Data Deficiency.
We went “outside” and found ways of keeping ourselves out of (and getting ourselves into) trouble!
Life on “The Outside”
-We rode our bikes…all over the place.
-We ran around, playing games like tag, hide-n-go seek and kickball.
-We climbed the heck out of trees. Sometimes we even built tree houses in those same trees.
*FYI, if you happen to be a kid or teenager reading this, I recommend NOT ripping things off your “real house” to build those tree forts, either…from my personal findings parents really don’t seem to support this activity!
-We had rock fights. What? You lost me there, chief.
I admit, this was possibly not the brightest of ideas we ever came up with as kids (now might be a very good time to question the “expertise” of your author!), but it did keep us quite entertained. We also learned how to run…REALLY fast.
Fast Forward to 2013
So, right now your’e probably wondering what the heck this fun little trip down “bell-bottom” memory lane has to do with sugary drinks killing 25,000 people in the US every year.
(BTW- In case you’re wondering if this is now going to turn into just another article about inactivity in children or about the dangers of video games, don’t worry, it isn’t)
It isn’t only about getting more active in your life (although I do highly recommend that). It’s about what having a more active lifestyle usually leads to for most people. It’s about…
Cliff hanger music please
Check out PART 2 for the conclusion to our little story of my deprived & twisted childhood. I’ll offer a simple, common sense idea that might just put a dent in those 25,000 funeral home bills.